Saturday, April 24, 2010

Middle of the Christianson Trail

Well, we did it. Jared has officially hiked the entire Christianson Trail. We jumped out of bed at 5 a.m. yesterday morning to hit the trail. Jared is working on accomplishing miles for Boy Scouts. We set out for another 10 miles. This time with Kirk. With it warming up the past few weeks we decided to set out early. Once again it was beautiful and great to just get out and be walking at a fast pace not worrying about who you might be leaving behind. Jared was in the lead of course. As usual. I HAD to go before Kirk. He had his walking sticks and it was driving me nuts. I kept feeling like I was behind Doc Oc from Spider Man when I followed him. He is such a good sport to all of my crazy irritants. I could write a book about them. That is another story. Anyway, I didn't get tired until the 8th mile again. It was great to be out...the three of us. There is just something about being away from the city hiking over dirt and rocks. The quail were hilarious the way they were calling to each other. There were so many and they were so loud. We made it home by 10:15 to work and do some school. Not bad for a morning jaunt.

Relay for Life

Jared participated in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Thank you all who supported him in raising money. He had to raise $100 to just participate. He did it thanks to you! He was pretty excited about it. The relay took place from 6 p.m. Fri. night to 6 a.m. Sat. morning. The whole event honors cancer survivors as well as remembering those who have lost the battle. The whole idea is that since cancer never sleeps then why should we. So during the night there has to be atleast one team member on the track walking at all times. Jared walked far more than he had signed up for. He wore my pedometer and clocked over 10 miles. He never closed his eyes that night. I knew he wouldn't. He is such a night owl. I think the cold night air kept him on his toes. I should also add that Kirk got roped into being a chaparone. Heehee. I had to work the next day so it made perfect sense for him to do it. He stayed awake and walked the same as Jared. They had a great time for the "cause". Jared is looking forward to next year. By the way, their team raised over $1500 and the entire relay raised over $154,000. How awesome is that? When I got home from work Sat. night, Jared was pretty much recovered after a days sleep. Dear ol' Dad on the other hand recovered sometime Mon.

Hiking the Christianson Trail

The boys and I set out for an afternoon of hiking the Christianson Trail. It is amazeing to hike right through parts of Phoenix and be so far in the hills to not realize that you are even in the city. We have already done a couple miles at the south side and decided to see where the north end was like. It was green everywhere with wild flowers here and there. Almost all of the cacti had blossomed. When we started we weren't sure just how far we would make it. We made it 3 miles to the visitor center at North Mountain and called Kirk to come pick up the dogs and Kaleb. Kaleb had a sore wearing on his ankle bone and the dogs were starting to look a little worn out. It was either that or I was going to kill them. The dogs...not Kaleb.
Jared and I wanted to keep going to see how far we could get. We hiked on up Shaw Butte and came back around to discover that it would have been so much easier if we had gone in the opposite direction. It would have been straight up and then a long way down instead of a very long way UP and straight down. Oh well. Not going to do that one again. I have absolutely no desire to hike up that mountain again. Jared weathered far better than his dear ol' mom.
Needless to say we discovered that there are horse tunnels under Cave Creek Rd and 7th st. I needed so bad to just get away from it all outside and walk it out. Jared and I have pretty much the same pace so it is really easy to hike together. He was like the Eveready Bunny. He just kept going. I learned pretty quick that if he stopped to catch his breath, which was hardly ever, that I would stop no matter how far behind I was. Everytime he stopped and if I caught up to him he would start hiking as soon as I got to him. Hmmm. I had to rethink my strategy. Quite a few times we would be going along in our own silence not talking to eachother. I think I iritate him when I start asking him questions. He likes it when I am quiet. He is such a guy.
Well, we topped our hike at 10.24 miles! It took us 4 and a half hours during the most beautiful part of the day in the desert. Late afternoon. Kirk thought for sure that he was going to have to come pick us up somewhere. At about 8 miles I thought he was but Jared was doing great and I didn't want to spoil it for him. I told him that he may have to practice his one-man rescue technique and drive me home. He liked the idea of driving but not rescueing me. I think his priorities are a little backwards. Anyway, it was pretty exciting. It was exciting for me because I didn't have to carry an infant, toddler or preschooler of any sort. I told Jared I will hike anywhere with him. He is a great companion and it was nice catching up on some one on one time with my oldest son. I love him and I think he knows it. He better. I nearly killed my ankles for him. Walking was a little tender the next morning. Now if I can only get him to do the "victory dance" at the ten mile mark...

Wrestling the Great Python

In between Spelling and Math our two young adventurers dressed for an improntu safari. They managed to wrestle with this python. You can see who won. Now if they can wrestle the rest of those animals out of their bedroom there might be room in their beds to sleep.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wild Goose Chase!

This morning at 4:22 a.m. while it was still pitch dark and Kirk and I were sleeping soundly. We awoke out of a dead sleep from Ben "screaming" in the backyard. Our window was open so we heard this most disturbing scream loud and clear. We were out the back door in a split second to find him no where. We checked everywhere with flashlights. All possible places aside from his tunnel. He was absolutely no where. We began to think the horrible. We had recently saw a dog jump our 8 ft wall with ease. It was either a coyote or one of the owls that live near Shadow Mountain just behind our house. After searching for the poor guy and thinking horrible things had happened to him Kirk took off up the mountain thinking that if it were an owl he might have dropped him. I started searching around the house and in the front yard. We just couldn't possibly see how an owl actually be able to pick him up and carry him. He is a big full-size bunny. The size of a cat. That bird would have to work at it to maneuver around the trees and the play structure to get any lift carrying a large animal. And our yard is deep because we live below the people in back of us so the rabbits have always been a little more protected in our yard. It would take alot for a large bird to swoop in and carry off a full size bunny. We met back at the house and looked again all over the yard. I was praying for God to show me where he was. I thought about the tree that the owls hang out in so we headed up there again looking all along the way hoping that he would have been dropped and that he probably was already dead and that we would just bring him home to bury him. I couldn't get his screaming out of my head. Then....Daphne called Kirk on his cell phone to say that Sammy was whining where Ben had been hiding. He had squeezed himself into this tiny spot inback of the hose with his nose in the corner and was scared. The poor guy was a little shook up but didn't seem to have anything wrong with him. So I just decided to hold him until the sun came up before putting him back out in the yard. About 6 a.m. Kirk and I let him go up on his ledge where he hangs out. It is amazeing what you see in the daylight. We were able to put two and two together with evidence. The little bugger got into our vegetable garden and had tried to jump over the chicken wire only to lose some fur and we think he got his foot caught in one of the holes in the wire. That is probably what made him scream. So Benjamin Bunny was a busy little bunny and remains unmarred by his morning escapade. Kirk and I got in our walk up the hill twice in one morning. Daphne was wide awake this morning and made it to take care of the horses where she volunteers "on time". And Sammy did what hounds do best. He caught a whiff and sniffed out Ben and then stood there whining until someone came to his call. Now here's the cool part in all of this. We love Ben, he is a beloved bunny, I was praying for Ben when I went in the house to turn off our alarm clock that had accidently been knocked to the buzzer. When I turned it to the music where it should have been the only words that I heard in the song was " Have faith in God". When we were searching up the hill I was asking God to show me where he is so I can just bring him home whether he was alive or not, when the phone rang and it was Daphne saying that she found him. And after we all had a good snicker at our early morning "wild bunny chase", I was blow drying my hair with the radio on...of course. I was thanking God for showing us where he was and that he didn't get carried off by some hungry owl. I turned off the hair dryer and immediately heard "he will lift you up on eagle's wings" on the radio! God has a really funny sense of humor!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kirk in the Box!

Does this ring a bell? Ahhh, the sweet sounds of Algebra...or should I say the wails of Algebra...the somber sounds of sobbing...the panic? Jared got stuck last week. No matter how many times we reviewed he just had a mental block on this particular problem. I was doing my best to guide him through it as best as I can. I am not a math person but I understand it in a way that makes sense. The kids usually understand it quite well when I explain it. They aren't math people either. Now Kirk on the other hand is a math geek! A real Einstein. Sometimes I have to call out the "big guns" and ask for his help. Daphne and Jared have learned to buckle up for a wild ride when Dad comes out to help with a math problem.
And this is what I want him to sit in when he starts explaining math to us normal non-math people. Anyone who knows Kirk automatically knows just how far "out of the box" he really is. He needs to just sit in the box for a couple minutes so that we understand him...atleast for a couple minutes. Heck...I would like for him to just sit in the box for just 15 minutes a day so that I can have a normal conversation with my husband. I just might get him one for his birthday. What a great idea! Kirk's Box.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Christ has risen...He has risen indeed! We spent the afternoon with my parents and had a wonderful visit with them and their doggy Sugar. Usually Sugar is such a psychopath but she was the cutest thing at our house. She loved playing with Henry and Sam and tolerated them very well. She played with plastic eggs and tennis balls. She was so cute. The church service was wonderful as usual. I have never been to an Easter service that I didn't like. They all make you reflect on what Jesus has done for us and how glorious God really is. Sometimes I try to imagine what it would have been like to be one of the women approaching Jesus' tomb only to find that the stone had been rolled away and Jesus wasn't there. I can only imagine. I am thankful to have a Savior, a Healer, a Redeemer, a Protector, a Leader, a Father in heaven. How cool is That!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crazy Saturday!

We started out our day with Daphne getting up at 5 a.m. to make it to Farmer's Market to sell tye dyed and silk screened t-shirts with her friends Susanna and Emily. She also plays her violin for a couple hours...and made $52. Not bad. Victoria helped make potatoe salad by chopping up all of the potatoes with this chopper thing that my cousin's wife Mary Kaye had at our last visit. The kids have a great time using it. Victoria is extremely capable when it comes to the kitchen. She is very confident in stirring and cutting and pouring...rarely making a mess. Though she did freak me out when she said she cut the potatoes in half to use the chopper. I made her show me how she did it to make sure that she was using the knife properly. She was. I guess no worries there...NOT! A five year old with a knife can still be a little worrisome. Anytime I am at the counter preparing any food item, this is where Sammy is. Either sitting on my feet or right in between both my feet. He not only wants to be with me but he is also very hopeful in catching some morsel of food that might perhaps fall his way. Key word is hopeful. With Daphne at Farmer's Market and Jared...still in bed, Kirk and I took Kaleb and Victoria to an egg hunt at one of the community churches near by. It was more like a massive egg sweep. Kaleb didn't want to be caught with a basket at the old age of he wore a fishing vest to stuff eggs into. It worked and he didn't feel wierd. Whatever works. Victoria is inspecting her find. Kaleb with one pocket full of eggs.
Hey what is that? All of Kalebs jeans have massive holes in them except one pair that he wears to church. I was told that Jared drew a happy face through the hole in his jean...with permanent marker. Atleast it isn't on his forehead. Kaleb and Victoria had a pretty good time. Plus they got all of our attention which doesn't always happen with the big kids around. After the egg hunt we went back home to frost cupcakes. Victoria put all of the bunny faces on. She is very helpful in the kitchen. Some times a little too helpful. This little monkey I sewed for Hannah and forgot to take a picture of it. It makes me think of her with her blond hair and pretty smile. Daphne got home around 2. Just in time to dye eggs. I am glad that everyone likes this part. They are always thinking up new creations. We did put one egg in every color thinking it would turn a horrible brown color but it actually didn't. The blue was too vibrant to get muddy looking. Daphne waiting patiently for the pink. I love this part of Easter. Smelling vinegar makes me think of dying Easter eggs. These tea cups only come out for egg dying. The dishes that belong to them are long gone many years ago but the cups are neatly stacked in the back of a corner cabinet. Of course Kirk had to actually ask where we keep them. They have been in the exact same spot for 16 years now. The day we move out of here will be the day that he remembers where we keep the egg dying cups. And I...will probably roll my eyes. Somebody was supposed to count how many eggs that Victoria got her little hands on. She dyed way beyond her share. Oops.
I love this one that Victoria drew. It looks like a vewy scawy runny babbit. Wun bunny, wun.

Jared dyed this really cool one. Usually he just kind of dunks one or two and is done. This time he actually thought up a couple cool ideas. He dyed it first orange, wrapped it in rubber bands and then dunked it in the blue.
After egg dying we managed to get Victoria to nap for an hour before running off to Hannah's Baptism at their mega church Christ Church of the Valley. When we pulled in the parking lot was so huge that Kirk was wondering if we had to pay for parking. Then we parked way out in the boon doggies and it was like we had parked at Disneyland where they had Disney characters posted on the light post so you could find your car when you come wandering out and can't remember what direction you parked. I jokingly said we parked in the Pinnochio section when Daphne looked over and saw a "D" on the light post. I rest my case.
Hannah was one of about 75 people being baptized. She was baptized by her Mom and Dad. My dear friend Kelly and Mike. It was a beautiful occasion. It really makes you renew your own acceptance of Jesus Christ and that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that we receive when we are baptized. Just think of what you can do if you let go and let God take over your life. We all have the power to do God's work at our own finger tips. It was incredible for me because I saw Hannah literally be born and come into this world almost 8 years ago and then I got to witness once again, Hannah be born again as a Christian. God has great things planned for her. I hope I get to witness that too.
Here is the whole group. Hannah is the youngest with Kylee who is 20 with her boyfriend Mitch and then her 17 year old brother Aaron and girlfriend Melissa. Kelly's parents came too and of course our family. I was taking the picture.
We met at the park for pizza and pasta salad afterwards. The kids had fun playing in the dark. It was a beautiful night. Kelly and I rarely get to just sit and visit between both of us homeschooling and working. Those moments are hard to come by. These three have a special relationship together. They have alll been together since birth. We met the Lowe's when Kaleb was just 5 months old. So he looks to Kelly as family. They don't know any different. They have just always been in our life. Kaleb is like the big brother of the two girls. It's sweet. He's the tame one, especially because Victoria and Hannah can be pretty wild at times. I enjoyed sewing that monkey for Hannah. She has always reminded me of a little monkey at times. I prayed for her while I was sewing it and thanking God for all of her qualities. Especially for her and Victoria's relationship. They love eachother. I love watching our lives unfold knowing that God already had it all planned out. Being with good friends finished off a wonderful day. I couldn't have asked for a better day. We made it home in time to shower and everyone get to bed for Easter services in the morning.

No it's not...

Victoria got all dressed up all by herself to go out shopping with her Nana and Daphne. I told her that her necklace was on backwards. She hopped up on the counter to look in the mirror and said "No it's not...see Mom, it's okay." And ran off. (yes that is an "L" in place of an "I".Low supply.)
She didn't give me any time to explain that she was looking at the reflection.

Having Fun

Anyone who knows Daphne, knows that she absolutely hates caterpillars! With a passion! She will scream loudly if she sees one. Even if it is plastic. Which can be funny for us sometimes but not her. Anyway, Victoria and I were looking through our pile of animal pictures that we have torn from magazines over the years looking for pictures of reptiles, amphibians, mammals etc... Victoria found this picture of the caterpillar and taped it on the girls bedroom door without Daphne knowing. She came back down the hallway holding the scotch tape snickering like she had just pulled the most hilarious joke over on her sister. It didn't take long for Daphne to see it. It does look kind of gross.


This particular Sunday was very relaxing a couple weeks ago. There was time to just sit and relax under the trees and read a good book...that is until Victoria decided to sit in her Daddy's lap. Too bad he can't see his book. She used to fit in our laps and we could still see over her head. Not any more. This time of year we spend outside as much as possible. Before you know it we will be locked up for the summer due to the heat like how most of those who are stashed away all winter due to snow. This is the time of year that we are very spoiled living in Arizona. It is absolutely beautiful right now.

Oranges Galore

Our orange and grapefruit trees are completely covered in blossoms. Every square inch of space has atleast 10 blossoms on it. Once you open the back door, the scent of citrus fills the air. It smells so good. Every year half way through the season we have to remove almost half the fruit from the tree before it even ripens because there is so much fruit. I was standing inbetween the two trees and heard a loud buzzing. Both trees were covered with bees doing their job of pollinating. It was really neat. Of course with the bees and blossoms come sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes. It is still worth it though.
Grandpa Jay is missing out on the grapefruits this year. They are huge and awesome. I was never a grapefruit eater until we moved in here 16 years ago. All the kids love them too. Which is good because we have gleaned over 20 bags off the tree and still have about 20 grapefruits still on the tree.

Kitty Dancer

While Kaleb was sewing his blue monkey, Daphne created this Kitty Celtic Dancer. She did this completely on her own. I think she has received enough basic sewing skills to expand her creative thoughts and apply them through fabric. She used Heat-n-bond for the design on the front. I think she did a great job. It turned out really cute. Now she has an order for a pink ballerina outfit on a kitty for her violin teachers neice.